Laurens Vanthoor, Anthony Kumpen, Edward Sandstrom and Marco Bonanomi won in the Audi R8 LMS ultra by five laps. The Audi factory has won at Le Mans, the Nurburgring and Spa this year. With the Belgium private team’s victory a fourth 24-hour victory is added to the brand’s endurance record this year. For the Belgian Anthony Kumpen it was his sixth overall victory in this event.
A perfect strategy, an Audi R8 LMS ultra totally reliable, a team at the top and four pilots who returned a partition without a false note: the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT has met all the elements, with his quartet Kumpen/Vanthoor/Bonanomi/Sandstrom, to win the 24 Hours of Zolder for the second consecutive time. While Anthony Kumpen brought the record of victories to 6 units, Audi has taken its fourth 24-hour race this year after the Nurburgring, Le Mans and Spa.
Even if Laurens Vanthoor had offered the Pole Position to the Audi R8 LMS ultra, the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT expected to live a complicated edition of the 24 Hours of Zolder. Circuit Zolder is indeed reputed to be one of the more stringent requirement is for mechanical and summer conditions have made the race even more difficult.
“Despite all the problems we had before the race, including a regulation that we were not really favorable, we are pleased to be able to retain our title,” explained Vincent Vosse, the Team Principal of the Belgian team. “We showed on the track that we deserved our victory. We established a strategy and we are required to do, even when we were losing ground to our adversaries, including the Prospeed Porsche, early in the race. In the end, it paid off! I would like to congratulate the whole team for the work done. Do not forget that some of our guys returning from FIA GT1 race in Moscow and they had very little sleep. Congratulations also to our 4 drivers, they delivered a perfect service.”
If the Audi R8 LMS in its ultra this time, removed for the second time twice around the clock Limburg, Anthony Kumpen meanwhile improved the record for victories in total for the 6th time on the highest step of the podium. “I found the WRT team after Belcar title in 2010 and I must say that his professionalism impressed me again” , explained Anthony. “We can see that the experience of such a team is huge and we did a great job together. For the record, I also found my favorite engineer, Jorge Segers, with which I had won my first 5 victories. Congratulations also to Laurens, another Limburg who wins and who has done an excellent job.”
Alongside Anthony Vanthoor could also display a wide smile. “It’s amazing to win here, a race that counted so much in my childhood and a circuit which is located 200 meters from my house,” recalled it. “It’s hard for me to express what I feel. I think I do not realize yet”
Both drivers Belgian necessarily attracted many eyes, but they know they owe their success to the excellent work done by Edward Sandstrom and Bonanomi. “After my big disappointment for the 24 Hours of Spa, when I was out track, the team did not hesitate to trust me again and I would like to thank, ” explained the Swedes. “It’s a nice contrast to prevail here! ” As for the Italian, he wanted to keep the good atmosphere within the team. “It was a pleasure to meet WRT this week,” he smiled. “And after my 3rd place at Le Mans, it is nice to win here. It seems that the endurance races I succeed this year!”
For the Belgian Audi Club, this third success of Audi in the 24 Hours (trio-Hemroulle Verbergt-Tarres had won with Audi A4 quattro turbo 1999) is a new line in the top brand in the ring Belgium. “With me, it was my first race in my new job and I have to say that I lived very intensely,” told Charles Bonnet, the new Secretary General of the Club. “It made me allowed to get acquainted with all members of the team and it will remain a great memory. I am also very proud to see that Audi has won April 1 th victory in a 24-hour race in 2012 after the Nurburgring, Le Mans and Spa. All this can only give me confidence in the future!”
Photos: © 2012 Loek Pictures | oneighturbo.com